For the last several days I've watched the cable pundits argue back and forth about whether President Obama's strategy of staying on the sidelines of the Iranian Revolution was wise. When liberal pundits and Pat Buchanan argued that Obama's nuanced policy was just what was needed I was convinced they were right, until a conservative came on the tube and said that it was important for the morale of the protesters to see the American President was behind them. I went back and forth like that several times.
But after watching video of the brutal crackdown and remembering the words of former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, I think the President has made a critical mistake.
In 1983, Sharansky was imprisoned in a Soviet prison when word reached him and his fellow prisoners that Ronald Reagan had ignored advice from his own State Department which favored an Obama-like nuanced position, and labeled the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire" and "the focus of evil in the modern world."
"The dissidents were ecstatic," said Sharansky years later. "Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth--a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us."
To paraphrase Reagan from another time and place, you who are fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers and though our President may have chosen to stay on the sidelines, others like the Huffington Post which has covered this story relentlessly, and millions of Americans have not and we are cheering you on as you struggle against tyranny.